Schools across Devon take part in Innovation Competition

Daisy Hall
Authored by Daisy Hall
Posted: Friday, July 5, 2024 - 21:39

Schools from the Ted Wragg Trust in Exeter, Plymouth and across Devon have taken part in an Innovation Competition this month (2nd July) at the Exeter College Future Skills Centre.  Students from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 could take part in the contest which was sponsored by NOCN and Willmott Dixon.

The competition was organised by the Ted Wragg Trust in collaboration with Exeter College and the South West Green Construction Advisory Panel (GCAP)and this year’s themes were green living and home decarbonisation or creating a new airport or college campus from scratch.  

Participants got to grips with learning about sustainable lifestyle choices and actions to reduce carbon emissions in homes or integrating environmental, social, and economic considerations into the planning, design, construction, and operation phases of their designs, supported by masterclasses from the sponsors.

16 teams from 15 schools were in attendance at the competition’s celebration event which comprised of the opening of the exhibition of students’ work, keynote speakers and 5-minute presentations from each team followed by Q&A from the judging panel. This was followed by lunch and the award ceremony and prize giving presentation. 

The Innovation Competition seeks to discover students who demonstrate an aptitude to solve complex problems in innovative ways. The competition required students to research, investigate and create an innovative solution to one of these problems. The teams’ ideas needed to be about using technology to make the world a better place. 

To assist and support teams throughout their work, a series of industry sector experts hosted live virtual discussions and masterclasses ahead of the contest, in order to help support students’ development of their idea or concept from an industry perspective. 

The judging panel was made up of industry experts from the technology sector and the judges looked at how well the teams could demonstrate their understanding of the criteria by developing their idea into a final proposal. 

The full judging panel included:

  • Daffne Aguilar - Social Value Manager at Willmott Dixon Construction Limited
  • Rosie Buckley - Head of Operational Strategy and Performance Management at Centrica New Business & Net Zero
  • Nicola Hollands - Sector Manager (Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing, and Green) at NOCN Group
  • Kerry Lane -  Business Developer Manager at EX2 Group
  • Sarah Lee -  Senior Associate Architect at Stride Treglown

Jade Otty, the Vice Principal at Exeter College was also in attendance and announced the winners and handed out the medals.

Primary Category Winner:

Exwick Heights - The Take Off Team with their Sustainable Airport
Judges Comments

So much information and details provided

Amazing presentation

Really interactive and good technical knowledge

Secondary Category Winner:

Honiton Community College with their Sustainable College Campus plans
Judges Comments:

Great innovation and collaboration of technologies

A clear and well-spoken presentation  

An impressive shopping list of ways to improve sustainability  

Highly Commended Teamwork:

Matford Brook Academy - The Ground Crew with an environmentally sustainable Airport
Judges comments:

Great details for team collaboration

Great insights shared on how the team worked to their strengths

Brilliant team structure, roles and working methods 

Highly Commended Final Presentation:

Marine Academy Primary - Team Green Marine with their ambitious solutions for the future – there is no planet B!
Judges Comments:

Very Clear & thorough explanations

Polished presentation  

Great understanding of issues affecting the Earth & plans for the future

As part of their project, the team from Exwick Heights had written to the Prince of Wales about the Earthshot Prize and fortuitously on the morning of the Innovation Competition they received a response from Kensington Palace. 

The letter stated that it was encouraging to hear of the groups commitment to bringing about positive change for the environment and that it was wonderful to hear about their participation in a project based around sustainability.

A full list of the schools that participated is below:

All Saints Academy Plymouth, Cranbrook Education Campus, Exwick Heights Primary, Honiton Community College, Isca Academy, Marine Academy Primary, Marine Academy Plymouth, Queen Elizabeth’s School, St James School, St Luke’s Church of England School, Sidmouth College, West Exe School, Tor Bridge High and Whipton Barton Federation.

Moira Marder, CEO of the Ted Wragg Trust said:

“A huge congratulations to all the students who took part in the Innovation Competition.  It was brilliant to see so many young people coming up with such inspired and positive ideas and I was so impressed by the creativity and thoughtfulness students displayed in their presentations.  

“I also want to say a big thank you to all the judges, sponsors and special guests, as well as Exeter College, the Exeter College Future Skills Centre and the South West Green Construction Advisory Panel - it’s great for everyone to come together for the benefit of Devon’s young people.”

Nicola Hollands, Sector Manager (Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing, and Green) at NOCN Group said:

“Ted Wragg Trust a truly inspirational event with such brilliance in one room! Thank you for inviting me to sit on the panel with fellow judges. I am truly lost for words to express how inspiring and moving everything about it was!

“Huge round of applause and congratulations to all participants and the winners. Well done all..

“Thank you for hosting and preparing for a great day Future Skills Centre Exeter! NOCN Group were truly proud to be one of the sponsors for today. Thank you all.”

Daffne Aguilar, Social Value Manager at Willmott Dixon Construction Limited said:

“Thank you to Exeter College and the Ted Wragg Trust for organising such an inspiring event. Willmott Dixon proudly sponsored the Innovation Competition along with NOCN Group, it was a pleasure to be part of the panel of judges of such amazing women including Sarah Lee RIBA, Rosie Buckley MBE, Kerry Lane and Nicola Hollands. 

“All the students were incredible, there were 16 schools with so much talent and potential, their ideas towards sustainability and making our world a better place were impressive and it inspired us to continue doing what we do as professionals. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to meet some of them and to be part of such an inspiring day. Well done to all.”